15 April 2024
  • 15 April 2024

Star Project improves lives during the cost-of-living crisis

on 29 October 2023 0

For over 20 years, Star Project has been doing its utmost to support members of the community, now, chief executive Sharon McAulay and her award-winning team are doing everything they can to improve lives during the cost-of-living crisis

Founded after a consultation which sought to find what people needed to know and what help was out there, the Star Project has never deviated from that ethos of providing what it is that their community members require to thrive rather than merely survive.

Built on the guiding principles of creativity, culture and playfulness, the idea of “a small group of local people wanting to help people” has grown arms and legs to the point that Star’s multilayered relationship-based approach has helped to brighten the darkest of days. 

“During the pandemic, the use of our community fridge snowballed by 1500%,” Sharon remarked. “Sadly, those numbers haven’t gone down hugely. We hoped that it would drop after Covid, but the cost of living and energy crisis, or the cost of greed crisis as we call it, came along afterwards.

“It really does,” Sharon said when asked if their services felt more vital than ever, “not just around food, but our current ‘community matters’ strategy focuses on tackling the effects of poverty, deprivation and associated stigma.

“We do that through a systemic approach to building resilience across everything we do through creativity, wellbeing and connection. We do a lot of workshops with artists, while the wellbeing aspect sort of speaks for itself, doing a lot around emotional health and inspiring confidence as well as hope, which everyone needs.

 “Improving connections came from our experiences during the lockdown as while we started as a drop-in, we recognised the lack of connections that people were experiencing, whether to themselves, others or the wider community. 

“There were a lot of people who weren’t feeling heard or as Arundhati Roy said, are ‘preferably unheard’ by the government, but we want to tackle that with a holistic view, we can create a more sustainable impact. 

“Everyone should have the right to thrive,” Sharon affirmed, “rather than just try to get on with it. Everybody, no matter who they are, whether they’re on benefits or working, everyone needs a little bit of help at one time or another.

“If we can help somebody just by keeping some more pennies in their pocket on a weekly basis, then we’ve done our job. It makes it all worthwhile and there’s no other reason we do this. That sense of pride and satisfaction is everything, I just wish we could help more.”

Currently overseeing the “Fairer Renfrewshire” initiative alongside Renfrewshire Council and other partners in order to help everyday people affect policy in the local area, keep up with Sharon and her team via their website. 

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